Suspect Neglect of Your Elderly Loved One? Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Cook County Today.
As more Americas live longer, the population of nursing homes and assisted living centers continues to climb. These residents have rights and specific protections under the law that include compensation when those who care for them fail in that duty. There are many forms of nursing home abuse and neglect; both emotional and physical. No matter what form they take, both are illegal and need to be stopped. A nursing home abuse attorney in Cook County can help if a loved one was a victim.
Recent research into this issue reveals some important facts:
- Ninety percent of all nursing homes are understaffed
- One in three of all U.S. nursing homes has been cited for abuse or neglect
- Ten percent of all nursing home residents are abused
- Only 20 percent of those have reported the offense
Nursing home abuse is not always reported to the proper authorities. Residents are often reluctant to complain because of fear of retaliation or embarrassment. This makes it difficult for family and friends of the victim to know that negligence exists unless they learn what to look for that might suggest abuse or neglect. A wide variety of painful, debilitating and life-threatening injuries could be suffered. Some of the common nursing home abuse or neglect cases that can constitute malpractice include:
- Bed sores
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Overt abuse and assault
- Resident on resident abuse
- Restraint injuries
- Injuries from falls
- Patients wandering from the facility
- Other forms of malpractice including misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, prescription errors, etc.
- Wrongful death
The Difference between Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
Abuse is legally defined as someone willfully or negligently committing an act that causes harm, without regard for the victim’s welfare. Neglect, on the other hand, involves inaction or inattentiveness to the nursing home resident’s welfare.
There are different classifications of the legal duty of care that factors into any civil complaint about nursing home abuse or neglect. If the actions of a health care professional such as a nurse, physician or even an administrator of the center, lead to a resident’s injury, they have a higher professional duty of care. But if a normal staff member or some non-licensed worker such as an orderly or maintenance person is the liable party, a lower duty will likely be present.
But if either duty is breached by a nursing home or assisted living employee – and even some vendors or contractors – the worker, and in some cases, the facility, are at risk of being defendants if a nursing home abuse attorney in Cook County files a malpractice lawsuit. The facility’s liability arises primarily from a legal concept known as respondent superior, which establishes that all employers are responsible for their employees’ actions during the normal performance of their duties on the job.
Investigating Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Complaints
Before proceeding with nursing home injury cases, a review of the victim’s medical records is critical. All family members, friends and any other witnesses must be interviewed quickly. Documentation of the elder’s treatment must be secured. Any third-party investigations by government authorities or previous complaints filed against the center must be reviewed. And the longer you wait to call a nursing home abuse attorney in Cook County after you discover your family member has suffered abuse, the more difficult it becomes to prove your case.
Damages the victim may claim include medical costs past, present and future, along with non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Survivor damages are also appropriate in some cases if wrongful death occurred.
An experienced nursing home abuse or neglect lawyer can help you recognize the signs that may be present and how to get the real story from your family member if there either has happened. If your family member has been harmed due to abuse or negligence in any extended care facility, Buttafuoco and Associates’ experienced nursing home abuse attorneys offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT or by using our online contact form.